Tech

Valve Unveils Steam Deck Game Verification Process

What happened now? Valve has revealed its plans for how it will test the compatibility of Steam games on its upcoming Steam Deck laptop. The process will involve testing the functionality of each game and dividing them into four categories to educate players on how well each game performs on the Steam Deck.

There are thousands of games hosted on Steam, all of which are primarily optimized to run on desktops or laptops rather than in a portable form factor. Additionally, most games on Steam are Windows-only and will require Valve’s Proton compatibility level to run on a Linux-based operating system. Valve’s validation system is designed to make it easier for both users and developers to determine how well each game is performing.

Valve Checker Program Page spreads four categories of compatibility. Highest is “verified”, which basically means the game can be fully played from boot with a controller, can be displayed at 1280 x 800 or 1280 x 720 with legible text, and Proton supports all of its middleware including Anti cheat. The next rating below is “playability,” meaning the game may require players to manually adjust some settings or navigate through the launcher using a touchscreen or virtual keyboard. Below are games that are “not supported” (Valve used Half-Life Alex as an example for VR only) or “unknown”, the latter of which have simply not been tested yet.

When browsing Steam, users will be able to see icons next to games displaying their Steam Deck compatibility rating. There will also be a whole Steam section, which will only display games with “verified” ratings.

In an exclusive interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Valve refined that the minimum frame rate for a “verified” rating is 30 frames per second, and that players can still attempt to load any game on the Steam Deck, even if its rating is “unsupported” or “unknown”. Valve also stated that anti-cheat is one of the biggest obstacles to Steam Deck compatibility. The company has confirmed that it will provide developers with an API that will allow them to make the game detect if it is running on the Steam Deck and adjust the default settings accordingly.

Valve has already begun testing games for compatibility, and players will be able to test how well their own libraries are performing on the Steam Deck prior to launch this December. Verifying the Steam Deck will be an ongoing process, so the rating of a game may change if it is updated or its own Steam Deck software changes over time.


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